Along with history, culture, and archaeology, one of the main things that draws so many millions of people to Greece is that it’s simply breathtakingly beautiful. Experience the wonder of Greece at its very best by making a point of taking it in from an optimal viewpoint.
The Best Viewpoints in Greece
You’re sure to encounter many splendid vistas during your travels in Greece. But there are some famous viewpoints in Greece so spectacular that they are destinations in themselves. These are worth seeking out.
Greeks know and deeply appreciate the beauty of their country. Therefore, in going to these high on the list, must-see destinations, you’ll encounter plenty of locals, too. Taking in the evening air at a beautiful location is a favorite Greek custom.
Tips to Make the Most of the Experience
Are you hoping to come back from your stay in Greece with some great images? You’ll want to make the most of the light.
The optimal time of day depends on the site. The urban viewpoints benefit from the warm light of the evening (or even of dawn). Beach locations and places where vegetation is part of the vista, on the other hand, can virtually glow under the intense light of day – gorgeous as the sunset can be.
These places have gained tremendous popularity over the years, so while the view may produce a profound sense of tranquility, the site can be quite lively at certain times of day. There will definitely be other seekers of beauty who will be happy to take your photo, yet if you wish to find yourself alone in the midst of the breathtaking natural surroundings, we recommend getting here in the early morning hours, just after sunrise.
Once you are done with capturing images of the gorgeous sites, make sure to put away your camera for a while and just bask in the glory of the moment.
Here are some of Greece’s most famous vistas that belong in any itinerary:
Ios, Panagia Palaiokastritissa
Ios is well known for its lively social scene. For a moment of reflection and repose, come to the island’s most fabulous viewpoint. Both the Byzantines and the Venetians valued this dramatic spot 300 meters above the sea for its view. But not because of the beauty of the open sea and the neighboring islands. This fortress was built because the spot was an important strategic viewpoint to detect any enemies headed toward Constantinople by sea. Today though you’ll find nothing but serenity in the view from Panagia Palaiokastritissa – Our Lady of Palaiokastro – the Church in the fortress.
Athens, Lycabettus Hill
Central and accessible, Athens’ glorious Lycabettus is the city’s highest hill. From a height of about 275 m, all of Athens unfolds before you. With 360 degree views, you can spot many landmarks and orient yourself in the capital. You’ll be looking down at the Parthenon (with an elevation of about 150 m). To its left is Kallimarmaro, the stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic games (in 1896), and the National Gardens beside it, with the Zappeion and the Temple of Zeus. Far in the distance you can see the sea and the ships coming and going from the Port of Piraeus.
The hill itself is full of indigenous plants, wildflowers, and animals, and makes a bracing and rewarding hike. But you can also reach the summit with the cable car, whose starting point is in Kolonaki at Plutarch and Aristippou streets. Alighting from the cable car, you can enjoy a wine or a meal with a splendid view from the cafe and restaurant, or ascend another flight of stairs to reach the Church of St. George and the viewing platform.
Thessaloniki Dassos Theatre
Thessaloniki is arranged like an amphitheatre rising from the curve of the bay of Thermaikos. As if that were not beautiful enough, you’ll also see Mt. Olympus towering in the distance.
On a clear day it looks dramatic and close – in fact it’s 80 km away as the crow flies. At the Dassos (“forest”) Theater, you can see not only a fine performance surrounded by trees, but a stunning view of the city. Facing west, late afternoon and dusk is prime time to enjoy it, as the shadows grow long, the purple light hits Mt. Olympus, the sun sets, and the lights of the city below start to twinkle.
Crete Elafonisi Lagoon
Once nearly a secret, this remote beach on Crete’s southwestern edge is now an extremely popular destination for travelers and locals. They are drawn by the astonishingly clear waters, the sands – both bright white and pink(!), and the vegetation: this is a protected habitat. Depending on the tides the winter has brought, there is either an island you can wade to, or an island-like paradise you can reach on a strip of dry sand. The island encloses a lagoon for great swimming for children, and a breezy beach on the other side.
The sand dunes and the exotic plants are as photogenic as the turquoise seas and the pink sands – this is a unique habitat that must be experienced first hand.
Gorgeous, green Corfu is beautiful everywhere you look. So the island’s most famous viewpoint must really be something else. It is – in the northwestern corner of the island, known for being particularly lush – is a long and high peninsula. The picturesque village of Afionas is high in the hills, and from this vantage point you can see the islands Mathraki, Erikousa, and Othoni. The peninsula ends in two gorgeous beaches separated by a strip of land that connects to another green “island,” enclosing a sparkling, jewel-toned bay.
Of course, these are just a handful of the countless destination-worthy views Greece has to offer. Exploring the beauties of Greece is truly an endless – and deeply rewarding – proposition. Have you been to any remarkable viewpoints in Greece?